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Cascades and Countryside Blog: A chorus of champions
Eight Eastern Loudoun students were selected for the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Middle School Honors Chorus, which performed last week in Virginia Beach.

Six of the students are from River Bend and Seneca Ridge middle schools: Manu Onteeru, Tanvi Thatai and Trisha Thatai and Robert Brown, Xavia Hahn and Kaitlin O’Neill, respectively. Two members of the chorus, Matthew Chesnutt and Kaitlyn Smith, attend Sterling Middle School.

More choral honors

Seven high school students from Eastern Loudoun were chosen for the Virginia Music Educators Association All-Virginia Chorus, which performed in mid-April in Virginia Beach.

Three students from Dominion High School were selected for the chorus: Kathryn Allen, Elisabeth George and Eli Pafumi. Three Park View High School students were chosen: Zack Morris, Marion Smedberg and Nicole Robinson. Potomac Falls High School was represented by Julia Thomas.

Guitar heroes

The Potomac Falls High School Advanced and Artist Guitar ensembles and the Potomac Falls Guitar Quartet are back in town after some time on the road for a whirlwind of a spring tour. The guitarists, led by the school’s Director of Guitar William Hart Wells, performed in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. The tour started in Baltimore at the Peabody Conservatory Fret Festival. The next stop was Richmond, where the musicians performed with the entire Virginia Commonwealth University guitar department. The third stop was the Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, N.C., where the guitarists were featured at the park’s Plaza Stage. The tour ended with a concert at the Appalachian State University GuitarFest in Boone, N.C., where the ensembles performed with 50 high school and college guitarists from the region.

Yard sales

CountrySide holds its annual spring yard sale on Saturday, May 7, rain or shine. The community-wide event begins at 8 a.m. and runs as long as sellers feel like selling. Maps identifying the locations of participating sellers will be available beginning May 5 at the CountrySide Proprietary office and online at http://www.countryside-va.com.

Cascades residents who want to get on the map for this year’s spring Cascades community yard sale, to be held from 8 a.m. until noon May 21 (the rain date is May 22), must return a yard sale registration form to the Lowes Island Community Center by May 18. The registration and application form is available online, in the most recent issue of the Cascades Current, at http://www.cascadesva.com.

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Sterling Blog: It’s not easy being green
Living in this area, one becomes accustomed to the endless construction. Each drive down Route 7 gives us views of construction equipment and cut down trees — the Lorax would be horrified. We constantly see new buildings go up and old green space disappear.

Green space and open land aren't just pretty to look at – it’s actually important to public health and can even save some communities money by addressing storm run-off. A study completed in 2008 by the Trust for Public Land Center for City Park Excellence on the City of Philadelphia estimated that each year Philadelphia saves $16 million by having green space help with water dispersal and air pollution.

Luckily, right here in our community, we have huge tracts of green space to enjoy, even if Briar Patch Park is under a bit of construction right now. The old Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad Regional train line that used to run from the city out into the foothills is now a wide jogging and biking path that goes right through the heart of Sterling. Just keep a watch for those zigzag lines on Sterling Boulevard that remind us to slow down and watch for those people getting far more exercise than I do.

Beyond that, we also have the amazing Claude Moore Park, which is a story I never tire of telling. Dr. Claude Moore owned the property, having bought it from the original owners, the Lane Family, in 1941. In 1975, Dr. Moore decided to donate the property to the National Wildlife Foundation with the expressed desire that it remain open space for the community. However, in 1986, the NWF planned to sell the property to developers, which did not make Dr. Moore at all pleased. He fought the decision for years in court. That’s where our county stepped in and protected land the old-fashioned way— they bought it. Acting on a citizen-supported bond referendum, Loudoun County bought the property and it became our emerald isle in a sea of roads and houses.

This Saturday, Claude Moore Park and the Friends of Claude Moore Park invite you to enjoy the historic buildings and the beauty that we, as citizens of Loudoun County, protected.

They are hosting a 5K Schoolhouse Trail Run and One-Mile Fun Walk for all ages. The event is free for runners under 5 years old, $15 for ages 6-17 and $30 for those above that. The run starts at 8 a.m. in the Claude Moore Park Historic Area and you do need to preregister by calling 571-258-3700 or visiting http://www.Loudoun.gov/claudemoorepark.

While you’re there on Saturday, be sure to stop by the Claude Moore Community Center for their Annual Spring Plant Exchange. The event starts at 12:30 p.m. and the plants go quickly. You can call 571-258-3500 for more information. You can trade seedlings and annuals and bring a little green space home with you.
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Cascades and Countryside Blog: Falcons Landing celebrates 20 years in Cascades
This week, Falcons Landing – a retirement community designed and built by a group of Washington area- based retired Air Force officers —celebrates 20 years of creating a lively after-service haven in eastern Loudoun for military officers, senior-level federal employees and their surviving spouses.

The outpost on one of the highest points in Cascades is literally a dream come true. The plan to build Falcons Landing was hatched during a regular morning breakfast gathering of retired officers at Andrews Air Force Base. They thought the Washington area should have an Air Force military retirement community and they launched a plan to make their dream a reality.

In 1984, the Air Force Retired Officers Community (AFROC) was created to oversee the mission. The original board of directors visited retirement communities across the nation to find best practices for their ideal community, secured financing and an inspiring location, commissioned the design and found a company to build their campus.

Falcons Landing was completed in 1996 and the first residents arrived in May of that year. Today, 550 residents call it home – 58 of them moved in during the first year the community opened—and membership in AFROC has been expanded to include military officers from all branches of service and senior-level federal employees.

This week, the anniversary celebrations, launched with a fun walk in Cascades, include a forum on the history of the Falcons Landing project, a high tea celebrating longtime employees, a variety show featuring resident and staff performers, a Polynesian luau and a winetasting at Cardinal Point Vineyard. The anniversary week closes with a formal gala dinner dance on Friday, April 29.

Through the years, Falcons Landing has been a big help to the community surrounding its campus.

With 300 employees, it may be the largest employer in Potomac Falls. After 20 years, 16 of the original employees are still working at the site: Maria Alvarez, Robert Besserer, Santos Castillo, Doris Cruz, Ercilia Elias, Luis Hernandez, Hardy Lister, Glendeen Martin, Evans Nguyen, Paula Perla, Rosa Quintero, Robert Rocha, Joselito Sunga, Maria Turcios, Jose Vendiola and Brian Woods.

Falcons Landing residents help the community around them in countless ways. They volunteer in local schools, read to area elementary school students and help at the library. In 2015, their annual fundraiser for the Sterling Volunteer Fire Co. raised $86,000 to help build a paramedic response vehicle. Each year, Falcons Landing awards scholarships to a graduating senior at each of the county’s high schools. In 2014, the scholarship was increased from $1,000 per student to $5,000 for one student at each of the county’s 13 schools.
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Sterling Blog: Locavore
Sterling Blog: The community is a stage
Cascades and Countryside Blog: Polish that chrome, support military service
Cascades and Countryside Blog: A fire truck at the finish line
Sterling Blog: At sword’s point
Cascades and Countryside Blog: Award-winning artists and ‘Schools to Watch’
Sterling Blog: Double-booked
Countryside, Cascades and Sterling Blog: The next generation of scientists
Sterling Blog: Well, at least you have your …
Countyside and Cascades Blog: Mingling at the senior center
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